The Bodhisattva Collection

A Burmese Lacquer Masterpiece by U Aung Myint

A Burmese Lacquer Masterpiece by U Aung Myint

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Directory: Artists: Lacquer: Contemporary: Item # 1014829
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From our Southeast Asia Collection, a lacquerware masterpiece from the famed U Aung Myint workshop in Myinkaba Village, Pagan Burma (Myanmar), from which the British Museum has commissioned pieces for display in London. See Isaacs and Burton, Visions from the Golden Land, Burma and the Art of Lacquer page 222-223. We had the honor, privilege, and education of watching artisans in this famous lacquer workshop creating modern masterpieces in the yun style, an extremely labor intensive craft where pieces literally take months to finish. For those interested in the lacquerware making process (it is fascinating), rather than just replicating and paraphrasing passages from already published texts, we think it best to refer you to the books by Sylvia Fraser-Lu, which have several very informative passages on the process.

This current piece is done in the yun style in a 4 color scheme of burnt-orange, black, green, and a pale yellow or straw color, and took months from start to finish to complete. The designs you see appear both on the front AND on the back. As aficionados of Burmese lacquerware know, the more colors, the more time consuming the piece, as each color must go thru its own separate application and drying cycle. In addition, the painstaking detail and intricacy on this particular piece is utterly astounding, even for yun-style pieces, which are already painstakingly detailed and intricate in general. Just look at some of the close-ups (the central buddha medallion is a good example): You can see fields of color which at first glance, look merely like solid fields of coloration, but when you look closely, you see that those seemingly solid fields are actually comprised of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny individual incising strokes per section... It's utterly mind boggling to contemplate a young artisan sitting there for hours upon hours at a time, etching these individual strokes into the lacquer, and yet that is exactly what we saw there. Masterpieces like this are the product of such labor and talent.

There are many Burmese-style imitations these days coming from China and Thailand, with painted enamel designs being passed off as lacquerware to the unwary. For those who appreciate the tedious intricacies of genuine Burmese lacquer production, there is no comparison. This is a genuine and superior quality Burmese lacquerware item sourced directly from one of the best and now relatively famous (thanks to the British Museum) modern practitioners of this ancient craft.

Size and Condition: 28 1/2 inches in diameter, 3 inches deep. Perfect aside from some minor wear.